Sygun Copper Mine

'Little Explorer', Victoria LEvel

‘Little Explorer’, Victoria Level. Sygun Copper Mine was opened as a tourist attraction in 1986.

Date

17 May 2014
Location

Mynydd Sygyn, Beddgelert

SH 60476 48822; 53.01844°N, 4.08142°W

Information

Further Reading

Sygun Copper Mine

 

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Llwyndu or Crib Ddu Copper Mine

Llwyndu Copper Mine

Llwyndu Copper Mine – view from the mine manager’s house or office. The entrance to the stopes of the old workings can be seen above the spoil heap, top centre. The dressing floor, middle right, was where the ore was cobbed by a team of twenty girls.

Date

9 March 2013
Location

Grib Ddu, Mynydd Sygyn, Beddgelert

SH 60567 48322; 53.01397°N, 4.07986°W

Information

Llwyndu or Crib Ddu Copper Mine is located at the top of the hill above Sygun Copper Mine and was worked for a time as part of the Sygun enterprise. In fact, the company owning Sygun mine changed its name to the Llwyndu Mine Company in 1839. Llwyndu Mine was, however, only in operation for around nine years and the site was abandoned by 1844.

Llwyndu Copper Mine Processing Area (Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales)

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Sygun Copper Mine

Outbye, adit on an upper level

Outbye, adit on an upper level above the show-mine section of the complex

Date

9 March 2013
Location

Mynydd Sygyn, Beddgelert

SH 60528 48519; 53.01573°N, 4.08052°W

Information

It is thought that mining for copper at Sygun in the Gwynant valley close to Beddgelert could have originated in Roman times. Recorded activity at Sygun Copper Mine, however, dates back to the 18th century. During the 19th century, the concern suffered various financial difficulties and changed ownership a number of times before finally closing in 1903. Part of the complex, from the Deep Adit up to the Victoria Level, was renovated as a show mine and opened to the public as a tourist attraction in 1986.

Incidentally, at the end of the 19th century Sygun was one of the first mines in the world to make use of a revolutionary new method for separating minerals. An oil-based flotation process had been patented in 1869 by William Haynes, but it was the Elmore brothers who were the first to commercially develop an industrial-scale process. At the time, Stanley Elmore owned Sygun mine and his brother Frank patented their process in 1898. The basic principle of the process exploits the differences in hydrophobicity between the valuable metal sulphide and the gangue, or unwanted rock present in the ore. When a slurry of finely crushed ore, water and oil is agitated, the sulphides, having a greater affinity for oil than water, tend to accumulate in the former leaving the gangue in the latter. The sulphide-rich oil layer can then be separated off from which the concentrated ore is recovered.

Sygun Copper Mine (Royal Commission on the ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales);
Sygun Copper Mine (Wales Underground);
Sygun Copper Mine (official site)

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Cwm Bychan/Nantmor Copper Mine (1)

Cable sheave at the upper terminus of the aerial ropeway (B)

Date

14 April 2012
Location

Cwm Bychan, Beddgelert

(A) SH 59773 46280; 52.99542°N, 4.09080°W
(B) SH 60382 47511; 53.00664°N, 4.08225°W

Information

Records of workings at the mine in Cwm Bychan, close to Beddgelert, date back to 1720, with activity peaking towards the end of the 18th century. In the 1870s the mine was run by the Cwm Buchan Silver Lead Mining Company. A brief, but unsuccessful, attempt was made to re-work the mine in the 1920s. This period of activity lasted for four years, but with virtually no ore being extracted during that time.

A number of surface structures from the 1920s remain at the site, including the ruins of a 1.4 km long aerial ropeway. This was constructed to convey ore from the workings at the top of the cwm down to a mill area at the bottom, close the Welsh Highland Railway.

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Carmel Head

Skerries Lighthouse

Date

3 December 2011
Location

Carmel Head, Anglesey

SH 29817 92865; 53.40507°N, 4.56152°W

Information

Carmel Head is the north-westernmost point on the island of Anglesey. A further three kilometres out to the north-west is the group of rocky islets known as the Skerries, which form part of a Special Protection Area on account of their resident colony of seabirds, and have also been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

In 1714 the leaseholder of the Skerries, a William Trench, was granted permission to erect a lighthouse there, which ultimately led to his downfall. The light was commissioned in 1717 and Trench died twelve years later, deeply in debt owing to evasion by ships and merchants of the light dues. The lighthouse was purchased by Trinity House in 1841. Originally the light source was a coal brazier; an oil lamp was employed from 1804, and in 1927 an electric light was installed. The lighthouse was automated in 1987.

There are plans to exploit the power of the tidal currents between Carmel Head and the Skerries to generate electricity using seven 1.5 MW turbines, each standing nine metres above sea level. The Anglesey Skerries Tidal Stream Array is a joint project currently being developed by npower renewables and Marine Current Turbines.

In the 1860s the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board constructed the pilot beacons — informally known as the White Ladies. The two stone pylons on Carmel Head align with a third located on West Mouse, a rock lying 1.2 km north by northeast offshore. The line of sight through the three markers indicates the direction of Coal Rock, a dangerous reef approximately another kilometre beyond West Mouse.

Close to the beacons are a chimney and the remains of office buildings of Carmel Head Mine, a small copper works. A mineral-mining lease was granted in 1756 in this area and in 1839 extravagant claims about the potential of the site, comparing it to that of Parys copper mine, were made in a share prospectus published by The Gaddair Copper Mining Company, which had sunk trial shafts in the area. The mine was sold in the 1860s and abandoned soon after because of poor yields.

Skerries (Trinity House);
Anglesey Skerries Tidal Stream Array (RWE npower renewables);
Coal Rock Pilot Beacons, Carmel Head (Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales)

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Coed y Dinas Copper Mine

Entrance of W bank adit

Date

21 May 2011
Location

Afon Ogwen, Coetmor, Tregarth

(W bank) SH 61054 67840; 53.18943°N, 4.08105°W
(E bank) SH 61064 67881; 53.18980°N, 4.08092°W

Information

The trial workings are on the banks of the Afon Ogwen close to Coetmor Bridge at Bryn Bella. The adit on the west bank extends some 20 metres and the one on the east bank around 6 metres.

In his 1802 Observations of the Snowdon Mountains, William Williams noted:

In the body of this hill [Dinas] there are branches, or, as they are termed by the miners, strings of fine copper, and some lead ores: trials have been made there at different times, but they did not answer the expence.

These veins cross the river to Coetmor Demesne, where spirited trial was made between the years 1760 and 1770, and a good deal of ore, both copper and lead, dug out of the place, but not so much as enabled the venturers to pocket any profit. However, as there are so many strings of ore to be seen entering the hill close to the river side, it is not improbable but that a large quantity is somewhere lodged in the bowels of it.

And David Bick (2003) has the following to say:

Another mine of doubtful whereabouts is COED Y DINAS, the scene of spirited trials between 1760 and 1770 for copper and lead. According to Williams a good deal of both ores were raised, but without profit. Another author, presumably referring to the same site, gives a similar account. ‘About 1760 and later, attempts were made in Coed y Dinas for copper by Cornish miners, where candles were not extinguished night and day for seven years. Levels were made from the Ogwen to go under Coetmor’s land. Pits were made from these, which are now full of water… About 1802 Lord Penrhyn made attempts from the bed of the Ogwen on the same vein, going under Pen Dinas, but with little success’.

A likely area for the operation is the wooded bank of the river below Coetmor Bridge where a level was reported about 1810.

William Williams, Observations of the Snowdon Mountains (Google Books)

David Bick, The Old Copper Mines of Snowdonia, 3rd Edition, 2003, Landmark Publishing (ISBN 1843060752), p. 120.

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Moel Hebog Mine

Looking towards Moel yr Ogof

Date

26 March 2011
Location

Moel Hebog

SH 55925 47188; 53.00255°N, 4.14848°W

Information

The mine is located on the north-western slopes of Moel Hebog, close to the coll (Bwlch Meillionen) between the latter and Moel yr Ogof. Small streams feeding into Afon Cwm-llefrith flow through the site. There is evidence of workings on about half a dozen levels and the ruins of several buildings still stand.

Moel Hebog mine dates back to at least 1837, when the Crown granted a lease for mineral extraction to a William Morgan Buckingham. Buckingham did not work the mine for long. Nor did the next lessee, who had obtained a 21-year lease in 1847, only to surrender it early on owing to issues with access and transport. Work had been provided for four men eight months a year, winter conditions being too harsh for operations to continue. In the 1850s Moel Hebog became part of Dinas Great Consols, which also ran the Dinas Great Copper mine in Cwm Pennant to the west.

In 1854, exuberant claims, most likely fraudulent, of gold having been extracted from ore from Moel Hebog were made. With no real discoveries, however, the Dinas Great Consols venture failed, and following its demise a long period of inactivity ensued. In the 1880s the mine changed hands several times and the mine and its operating companies were known at various times as Cwm Llefrith, Moel Hebog Mining Co. Ltd., Glistening Valley, and Cwm Llefrith Co. Ltd. At one stage the mine boasted a workforce of 44 men, half of whom were employed below ground.

Reference: David Bick, The Old Copper Mines of Snowdonia, 3rd Edition, 2003, Landmark Publishing (ISBN 1843060752).

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Gwaith Copper Mine

Looking along Nant Ffrancon towards Tryfan

Date

26 February 2011
Location

Gwaith, Nant Ffrancon

SH 63026 63217; 53.14842°N, 4.04957°W

Information

In 1782 the Parys Mine Company discovered a vein of copper ore at this site. The main workings were below the old road close to the now ruined house Gwaith-maen. The yield from the mine amounted to only a few tons. A little higher up the slope of Carnedd y Filiast, below Cwm Graianog, an adit some 30 yards or so long was driven.

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Cwm Ceunant Copper Mine

Looking over to the Carneddau from the middle adit

Date

19 February 2011
Location

Cwm Ceunant, Carnedd y Filiast

SH 62563 63756; 53.15314°N, 4.05673°W

Further Information

Spoil heaps for the workings, which were on three levels, are visible from Lon Las Ogwen on the valley floor. The mine is on the 350m contour in Cwm Ceunant, on the slopes of Carnedd y Filiast in the Glyderau range. Although the entrance to the bottom adit is completely covered over by a waste heap, the entrances to the middle and top adits are still clear.

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